Wednesday, October 29, 2014

EPA Recognizes Food Recovery Project with Achievement Award

EPA Gives University Achievement Award for Food Recovery
Posted on October 20, 2014

The University of Arkansas continues to receive accolades and recognition for its pioneering work on food waste prevention and food recovery promotion. The university recently received a 2013 Achievement Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the agency’s Food Recovery Challenge. Ron Curry, EPA Region 6 Administrator, presented the award certificate to Carlos Ochoa, director of the Office for Sustainability, at the Arkansas Recycling Coalition Conference.

The EPA praised the university for its tenacity in confronting and conquering barriers to food recovery, its practical effectiveness in implementing food recovery on campus, its leadership in modeling and facilitating food recovery engagement, and its collaborations with area food businesses to promote sustainable food waste management practices in Arkansas. 

Carlos Ochoa (L) and Nicole Civita (R) receive the 2013 EPA Achievement Award

As Ochoa emphasized in his acceptance remarks, the university’s advances in sustainable food management practices have resulted from collaboration among various units and stakeholders on campus: The Office of Sustainability has made food waste reduction and food recovery an institutional priority in line with its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The School of Law’s Food Recovery Project has provided the legal information and expertise needed to allay concerns about potential liability and insure that the university’s food recovery efforts are safe and effective. The School of Social Work and the Department of Political Science of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Science also brought attention to the twin problems of food waste and hunger and the importance of food recovery at its inaugural Food Justice Summit in Nov. 2013.

The university’s efforts are bolstered by its students who recover food from its dining halls and retail food establishments and who founded and operate Razorback Food Recovery as one of the Volunteer Action Center’s flagship programs. Food recovery would also be impossible without the cooperation of the dining services provider, Chartwells, and its staff, who set aside and donate wholesome unsold food at the end of the day for donation to the campus Full Circle Food Pantry and other emergency food programs in Fayetteville.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nicole Civita presents on Food Justice at Conference in Wyoming

Visiting Assistant Professor Nicole Civita delivered several well-received presentations on food justice, food insecurity, food waste and recovery at the 2014 Consumer Issues Conference — Food: Policies, Perceptions, & Practices.  During her brief trip to Laramie, Wyoming, Professor Civita delivered a thought-provoking lunchtime plenary address that explored food justice and the power and limits of consumer-driven reform.  She also contributed to two panel discussions regarding food waste and recovery and served as a feature discussant after a screening of the documentary, A Place at the Table.
The Consumer Issues Conference is an interdisciplinary project organized by several University of Wyoming. Colleges, including Law, Agriculture, Health and Business and supported by outside partnering organizations, including Colorado State University Extension and the Wyoming Department of Health. This annual conference is “designed to focus on public policy issues affecting consumers and the consumer marketplace, and to inspire people to be active in bringing about change in the legal and market environment.” In its 14th year, the conference put a spotlight on food — a product which every consumer requires multiple times a day. Conference organizers, speakers and attendees investigated and engaged in a lively dialog about a broad range of consumer issues related to food including food insecurity, food marketing, advertising, labeling, and grading, nutrition and health, food safety, food waste, and the relative geographic span of food systems.

During her plenary address, Choosing Food Justice, Professor Civita sought to synthesize the wide range of issues that relate to food and to view them through the lens of busy, hungry consumers juggling the many demands of modern life. She surveyed the scope of food justice as a discipline and a movement, explored the personal, market-driven, and legal dimensions of food choice, and identified specific areas where advocates for a more equitable food system can productively engage with the law and press for reform.  


Representing our Food Recovery Project, Nicole illustrated the magnitude of America’s food waste problem and situated this problem next to our growing and unacceptable food insecurity problem in the piktochart titled Wasted: The Consequences of Undervaluing Food | Piktochart Infographic Editor.

She then suggested food recovery as an elegant way to address both issues, taught attendees about the legal protections for food businesses and non-profits who engage food recovery and charitable feeding, and introduced several remaining legal drivers of food waste and obstacles to food recovery.


Professor Civita was delighted to connect with many articulate advocates for and visionary contributors to a more just, health-promoting, and sustainable food system at the conference including the Administrator of the USDA’s Food & Nutrition Service, Audrey Rowe, Consumer’s Union Senior Scientist, Dr. Michael Hansen, and Director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Liaison Office for North America, Nicholas Nelson. The LL.M. program is excited to report that these luminaries have accepted our invitation lecture to our students via video-conference in the near future, allowing us to continue leveraging our new technologically-enhanced classroom and distance education capacity to connect our candidates with leading experts in agricultural and food law, policy & practice.

Nicole extends her appreciation and gratitude to the organizers of the conference, and especially to Professors Dee Pridgen & Virginia Vincenti, for putting together such a well-thought out conference, encouraging dialog at the nexus of food system and consumer related issues, and being wonderful hosts.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Janie Hipp attends White House discussion on women in agriculture

The article below was originally posted by the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative blog. Read the article below or find the original posting here.

A Week of Celebrating Native #WomeninAg

IFAI Director, Janie Hipp (Chickasaw), attended a dialogue at the White House today, focusing on the future of women in agriculture. USDA, through Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, and the White House, through the White House Rural Council office, sponsored the talk, inviting stakeholders from across the ag sector to participate in a dialogue about the importance of women to the future of
agricultural production. Participants were welcomed by Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Harden of USDA and Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. In attendance were representatives from agribusinesses, universities, youth organizations, and nonprofit organizations, all discussing barriers women face in the ag sector, successful ongoing and past efforts to place women in the ag sector in leadership roles, and how to support future generations of young women in this crucial field. As IFAI's representative for this meeting, Janie lifted up the importance of Native women and their contributions to agriculture, both now and in the past, as well as the critical need to engage more of our young women in this space.

During the discussion, participants brought up the importance of financial literacy as well as solid estate and succession planning. The dialogue highlighted the troubling problem of the aging of the American farmer, both in and out of Indian Country, a problem that affects all farmers regardless of gender: the most recent national agriculture census data shows that the average age of all principal operators in the US is 58.3 years, while average ages for American Indian and Alaska Native operators and female operators are 55.5 and 60, respectively. Young farmers are difficult to find-- the census data's lowest participant category is for farmers 25 and younger, with only 10,714 young farmers responding. Panel participants at the White House today concluded that aggressive m
arketing is needed across genders to support all young people who wish to have careers in agriculture. Stakeholders from across the industry made suggestions about the recruitment of young women into agriculture, as well as continuing support for young men. The dialogue included a discussion about corporate stakeholders partnering with universities to create better mentoring and internship opportunities for youth, as well as corporations embedding support for young producers all along the supply chain.

Focusing specifically on Indian Country, Ken Auer of Farm Credit Council noted that the highest number of farms and ranches owned by women is in Indian Country. Auer also said that Farm Credit Council is currently looking for new and innovative ways to support Native women in agriculture.

One of the points made during today's discussion was that we need to be more intentional about elevating the honoring of dynamic women in agriculture. We're going to spend our week doing just that: we'll be posting, blogging, and tweeting about the amazing Native women in ag who inspire us-- beginning, of course, with the twenty-one incredible young women from our first class of Native Youth in Agriculture Summer Summit participants.

Discussions like this one only further remind us of the importance of programs that focus on our youth-- all of them. The future of Indian Country agriculture is theirs, and they deserve our strongest support. We need to highlight their accomplishments and imbue them with the courage to lead their communities.  You all inspire us!

Who inspires YOU? Let us know! Use #WomeninAg to join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook!

Monday, October 20, 2014

LL.M. Alumna A-dae Romero writes in celebration of World Food Day

LL.M. Alumna and White House Champion of Change A-dae Romero recently wrote a piece in celebration of World Food Day. The original article found here is copied below.

The Cochiti Farmer
By Vena A-dae Romero, White House Champion of Change, Co-Founder of Cochiti Youth Experience, Inc., Granddaughter of a Pueblo Farmer

I come from a 1000s generations of farmers. Cochiti people, my people, farmed in New Mexico, now in the arid Southwest United States for centuries. Much like other Pueblos in the Southwest, Cochiti people are as much part of the land as the land is part of us. We cultivate the land while the land cultivates us. This relationship that has supported my people since time immemorial is remembered daily when we place our fingers in the dirt, pull the weeds from our fields, or plant our seeds with water, prayer, and hope, cook the food which we grow, and ingest the world with each bite of food we eat. We honor this relationship when we teach our children the beauty of growing and eating food, the same foods that were eaten by our grandparents, our great grandparents, and all generations before them. The importance of the Cochiti farmer is no less than the bearer of generational knowledge that connects our people to our lands and the life that is sustained on it and by it, and the protector of that world for all future generations of Cochiti people.

I come from a 1000 generations of farmers. When in one generation, my small community was faced with the question of who we would be without farming, Cochiti resoundingly responded that we would fight for our grandchildren to farm or perish in attempting to assert that right; a right that was neither granted to us by modern legal systems but by virtue of our very creation. In the early 1980’s, a poorly constructed dam began to leak and flooded much of the fertile farmlands that sustained Cochiti for generations. Cochiti grandfathers and grandmothers who were faced with losing an entire agricultural way of life in one single generation collectively responded that they would fight for future generations of Cochiti children to farm and be connected to our lands. Even if that fight was with the single most powerful government in the world, the United States. While the government tried to persuade and compensate for loss of land, Cochiti farmers would not settle for less than the restoration of our farmlands. The Cochiti farmer is warrior and protector.

I come from 1000 generations of farmers, who long before economies functioned well were able to sustain entire communities on scare resources through famine and drought. Many of these well-established resource systems such as water and food management that were developed in Pueblo histories are still practiced today and still function as a guide for social interaction and community development presently. The current modern industrial agricultural system seeks to replace old Pueblo farm ways with new modern ones that may involve systemic technologies, fewer people, more synthetic soil additives that produce greater yields. Yet, it is still often heard from traditional Pueblo farmers, “I farm for my family and my community. What I have left over, I may think about trading or selling.” The simplicity of such a statement embodies a world of knowledge and acknowledges our relationship with the earth in that sustainability begins with how we view crops and how much we are willing to take to sustain us. It is neither too much or too little, but often disregarded in industrial agriculture. The Cochiti farmer is an economist of sustainability.

I come from 1000 generations of Cochiti farmers whose faces and lessons are reflected in the faces of the young Cochiti children who begin learning the tenets of our collective responsibility with the first tastes of foods grown from our lands. The children, like the foods grown from our lands, our part of an age old cycle that predates any farm- a cycle that will continue throughout time, a cycle that is filled with laughter, dirt, relationships, love, sky, rain, and verbal and non-verbal language-A cycle in which grandmothers and grandfathers and children are vitally important to the present. The Cochiti farmer is a keeper of happiness.

My people are indigenous farmers, distilled to the most basic of definition of a family farmer. Perhaps, because, in so many ways, we are the farmers of the world- our family. We are the farmers of the earth- our family. We are the farmers of the four legged, the two legged, and the no legged-our family.

What is the family farmers importance? First, what is the family farmer? The man or woman who dedicates his or her life to tilling and responding to the earth? Or the man or woman who dedicates his life to producing yields? Farming, today, has come to encompass a binary definition where one has to choose whether he or she is farming to produce or farming to profit because they are no longer one in the same.

And second, to which is his family? A family defined, in the 20th century, is 2.5 children, a dog, mortgage, and spot plot of land of which can be derived an income. Yet, traditionally, my family is that of the earth, the soil, the trees, the animals, the generations to come, and the footprints of culture and tradition to which my off-spring can follow to derive a positive existence for the next generation. So what is the importance of a family farmer? And I ask, to whom?

To those children not yet born? Who will inherit an earth depleted of natural relationships between soil and sun, earth and air, wind and rain because synthetic fertilizers inhibit the natural language of a farmer and his land, his plants and his abilty to cultivate and protect. For thousands of years, the farmer has responded to the call of nature. From the first seed of corn that required the incidence of human interaction to ensure its fertilization to the current crisis of over-production that seeks to create attention through food bourne illness and supsetience to crop failure due to drought, due to pest infestation, due to a milieu of other attacks that plague monocultural agriculture.

So what is the importance of the family farmer? To the American agriculture system? Who seeks so desparelty to create a food culture that is sustainable and national so that when disaster stikes, our American community is fed. Yet, corporations seek to invest in human, natural, and intellectual capital so they can profit on the most of basic of human needs- to eat- to gain profit from the most fertile lands of earth?

What is the importance of the family farmer to the world? A nostalgic composition of human evolution, the most basic building block of community, the tie that binds people with place? The family farmer is the ideal. The definition of society. The premise on which entire civilizations become viable and begin to imagine a history that could withstand collapse, that could withstand time’s attempt to erase any trace of existence.

Or what is the importance of a famiy farmer to the land in which he tills? The universe and the relationships to which he contributes from his toxic waste that becomes the food for plants. Or his or her presence that shall become the nexus for fertilization. That single stroke in time when the natural world reminds the farmer that he or she is both natural and he or she shall return to dust.

Or what is the importance of the family farmer to a community? To which he provides both bread and produce, prayer and comfort that when all else fails- the farm will provide. The family farmer in the community is he who sustains and produces when market mechanisms fail, when science refuses to believe, and when governments try to condemn.

Vena A-dae Romero (Cochiti/Kiowa) is born and raised in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico as a granddaughter of a Pueblo farmer. In Cochiti, she co-founded the Cochiti Youth Experience, Inc., a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating positive opportunities for Cochiti Youth with a special focus on strengthening Pueblo agriculture, which serves as the base of economic, political, and social institutions. The idea is that if a community can strengthen agriculture, then the stability of other institutions will follow. While working with Pueblo farmers, she realized the needs of Indigenous farmers and Tribes are often over-looked in the promulgation of agricultural law, programs, and regulations so she attended the University of Arkansas College of Law Food and Agricultural Law Program, where she received her LLM and worked with Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative where she wrote extensively about Indigenous farmers and food/agricultural law with a special focus on Food Safety law. She was recognized as a Fulbright scholar for her work on Indigenous food law in America and New Zealand. Now under First Nations Development Institute, whose mission is to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities, Vena works on monitoring food and agricultural law and its affects on Indigenous producers, writes extensively about the inclusion of Indigenous Farmers in Federal programs and laws, and works with Indigenous farmers across the country to strengthen agricultural economies and develop health food and agricultural businesses. Her late grandfather, who taught her about Pueblo agriculture, jokingly said, “My granddaughter has completed all this schooling to become a farmer.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Special Event: Indigenous Peoples of the Americas Day

Today, Monday October 13th, The Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative is co-sponsoring Indigenous Peoples of the Americas Day. Featured speakers include Law School Dean Stacy Leeds, and LL.M. Candidate Hillary Renick. The Initiative is operated under the direction of LL.M. Alumna Janie Simms Hipp.  The event will take place on campus in the Arkansas Union with a full event schedule concluding with a screening and discussion of the film "Ramona". Information on the days events is included in the flyers below.

Be sure to join the Facebook page at
and add Native American Student Association at


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Alumni News: Liliana Reyes recognized as an outstanding agribusiness lawyer in Colombia

We are pleased to announce that LL.M. Alumna Liliana Reyes was recently recognized by
Legal 500 Latin America as an outstanding agribusiness lawyer in Colombia. In addition, her firm Brigard & Urrutia was named the Colombian firm of the year, according to Chambers and Partners.

 Liliana Reyes serves as a Senior Associate and provides expertise in urban and environmental, commercial, and agribusiness matters.
Congratulations Liliana!

Professor Schneider Named Wm H. Enfield Professor of Law

From the Arkansas Newswire:

Dean Stacy Leeds named Susan Schneider the William H. Enfield Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Schneider teaches courses in agricultural and food law and serves as director of the law school’s master of laws program in Agricultural and Food Law. The program is the only one of its kind in the United States and is now available in an online format, drawing students from all over the world.

The endowed professorship was created by Judge William H. Enfield of Bentonville, a former professor of the University of Arkansas School of Law. In addition to serving as a professor, Enfield had a 20 year career in private practice before serving as a Circuit Judge in the 19th Judicial District in Benton County.

“I am truly honored to be selected as the William H. Enfield Professor of Law,” said Schneider. “While I did not have the opportunity to meet Judge Enfield personally, his contribution to the Arkansas bar, his dedication to the law school and his commitment to justice are well known. I hope to serve with that as my inspiration.”

“Susan is a well-recognized expert in agricultural and food law, and thanks to her leadership, our long standing LL.M. program is expanding in new and exciting ways to include distance education globally,” said Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law. “Judge Enfield created a lasting legacy here at the School of Law, and Professor Schneider carries his spirit of excellence forward.”

When he established the endowed professorship in 1999 Enfield said, “Remembering my experience as a professor, I wanted to find a way to help bring more quality legal talent to the university to teach future generations of lawyers.”

The first William H. Enfield Professor was John J. Watkins. The second honoree, Steve Sheppard, served as Enfield Professor for 13 years before leaving the University of Arkansas to serve as dean of St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas.

Enfield graduated from the School of Law in 1948. He passed away in 2010.

Schneider earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. She earned her J.D. at the University of Minnesota School of Law and her LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Her private practice and advocacy work in agricultural law includes positions with firms in Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C. She is a past president of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) and a two-term board member. She was the 2010 recipient of the AALA Distinguished Service Award.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Razorback Recovery and the Food Recovery Project Featured in Harvest Public Media Special Report

LL.M. Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of the Food Recovery Project Nicole Civita was featured recently in this Harvest Public Media Special Report about Food Waste in America.

An excerpt from the article is included below. View the full article and watch the program here.

An Abundance of Waste

Farmers and growers have made gigantic advancements in food production over the last century, ensuring more food flows from farm to table than at any time in human history. Yet, some estimates say as much as 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten.

Food waste is the single-largest source of waste in municipal landfills. An incredible 35 million tons of food were thrown away in 2012, according to the EPA. As it decomposes in landfills, the waste releases methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, 1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger and the world wonders how to address the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.

NET Nebraska and Harvest Public Media are exploring the problem of food waste in America. Watch for lots of coverage online. Harvest Public Media partner public radio stations will air a week-long series starting Monday, Sept. 22.

And tune in to your local public television on Friday, Sept. 26, for an in-depth look on “Tossed Out: Food Waste in America.” Check your local listings.

Or, watch the full TV program, right here.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

National Jurist Lists Food Law as One of Top Ten Hot Areas for Employment

The September- October Issue of National Jurist magazine includes the article, What's Hot: Ten Practice Areas that are Driving Hiring Now.  It discusses the job market for attorneys, noting that the market is picking up, but that it is also changing.  It lists the top ten areas that are expected to be "hot" in terms of opportunities and new hiring.

Food Law is number 8 on the list.  To be accurate, they refer to "food and drug law" but reading their description of the types of positions, they are clearly talking about the food law and policy arena - including the new Food Safety Modernization Act, with a regulatory reach down to the production level and the wide range of interesting legal issues involved with marijuana production and sale in states where it's legal.

We were delighted to have our LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law listed along with Michigan State, where a distance LL.M. Program in Global Food Law is available.

Note that this issue also gives us another huge shout out -  the University of Arkansas School of Law is rated as #1 for Best Value in legal education.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Agricultural Law & Medical Marijuana

I suspect that when Ray Watson attended the LL.M. Program back in the late 1990's, he did not anticipate that a significant amount of his work someday would involve marijuana. Ray now serves as Illinois Department of Agriculture General Counsel, and as such, he is guiding the State of Illinois as it undertakes its Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

Ray's pictured below during a town hall meeting at the Illinois Department of Transportation in Collinsville, Illinois.

Another report from Illinois shows hundreds of residents asking questions at a town hall meeting. Marijuana Town Hall Attracts Hundreds in Chicago. Questions ranged from practical, administrative questions on how the program will be run to those seeking assurances that the program will not have negative unintended consequences.  We are confident that Ray handled all of the questions with care, professionalism, and accurate information.

 A new chapter in a good agricultural lawyer's career.

Ray Watson, Illinois Department of Agriculture General Counsel, answers questions about the State of Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program during a town hall meeting at the Illinois Department of Transportation in Collinsville, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Photo by Roberto Rodriguez,

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fayetteville, Arkansas - One of the Best College Towns in America

The vast majority of our LL.M. candidates are from outside Arkansas.  Many of our applicants and potential applicants wonder what Northwest Arkansas is really like -  

Consider this article reposted from the Fayetteville Flyer:

For the second year in a row, Fayetteville was named as one of the best college towns in the nation. this week released its annual list of the Top 10 Best College Towns, which ranked Fayetteville as No. 4. 
The website, which provides data for small-and medium-sized cities, also compiles annual best-of lists based on the data it collects throughout the year. It lists Fayetteville with a population just shy of 76,000 and a median income of $37,383. 
This is the fifth year has published its best-of list for college towns. It’s Fayetteville’s second appearance on the list. The city was named No. 9 in 2013.‘s ranking criteria included affordable housing, educational attainment, walkability and student population. 
1. Ames, Iowa
2. Logan, Utah
3. Oxford, Ohio
4. Fayetteville, Arkansas
5. Tempe, Arizona
6. Charlottesville, Virginia
7. Champaign, Illinois
8. Moscow, Idaho
9. South Bend, Indiana
10. Hattiesburg, Mississippi 
This year, cities were divided up by their college’s Football Bowl Subdivision conference and then ranked within each group before compiling the list. That means Fayetteville beat out all other SEC college towns, and was then ranked as the fourth-best in the nation. 
Ranking criteria included affordable housing, educational attainment, walkability and student population. 
After livability aspects were calculated, the list was skewed toward measuring the impact each college and university has on its cities and what would make life better for college-aged people. 
A close look was given at cities with a high concentration of degree-holders and of 25-to-34 year-olds to see if they were the kinds of cities that students would want to stay in once they graduated. 
Finally, the website counted the number of restaurants, music venues, bike trails, parks and festivals in each city, and included any partnerships that exist between the colleges and towns. 
“From its hip strip of shops, bars and restaurants to the bike paths and walking trails that snake through the city, Fayetteville, Ark., greatly accommodates the college lifestyle,” wrote the website. “Southern charm meshes with a modern arts scene and innovative businesses to create a place that draws young families who crave a unique yet traditional small-town vibe.” 
Fayetteville was the only city from last year to make the list in 2014, but not every city is new to the series. Oxford, Ohio made the list in 2011 and 2012; Champaign, Ill. and Logan, Utah made it in 2012; and Charlottesville, Va. charted in 2010.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Employment News: Erin Shirl

We are pleased to report that over the summer, Erin Shirl, an LL.M candidate in last year's class, accepted a position as Staff Attorney & Visiting Research Professor of Law with the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Erin has been serving as a Staff Attorney and Visiting Research Professor for the Initiative since late July. Her duties include research, writing, and program and course development. She hopes to help start several new Initiative programs during the course of her appointment, as well as continue to support existing programming, like the Initiative’s summer summit for Native youth who are considering career options in agricultural fields.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Employment News: Kelly Damewood at California Certified Organic Foundation

We are pleased to report that over the summer, Kelly Damewood, an LL.M candidate in last year's class, accepted a position as Policy Director with the well-regarded California Certified Organic Foundation (CCOF).  While in the LL.M. Program, Kelly served as the Marler Clark Graduate Assistant, working as a journalist for Food Safety News, the online publication with worldwide distribution.

Kelly will lead CCOF’s policy staff and organize member engagement on issues related to the National Organic Program (NOP), National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), Farm Bill, and other aspects of agricultural policy.  Congratulations to Kelly -  we know you will do a great job.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A USA Today story on food waste references research by Professor Nicole Civita and LL.M. alumnus James Haley for the Food Recovery Project in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law

View the original article here.

Dumpster dining: Environmentalist fights food waste
John Wisely, Detroit Free Press 8:19 p.m. EDT August 31, 2014

Rob J. Greenfield, 28, of San Diego is an environmental activist who is crossing the country on his bicycle dumpster diving to show how much food is wasted in the country annually. He hits a set of dumpsters behind Glory Market in Oak Park, Mich., Aug. 31, 2014.(Photo: Regina H. Boone, Detroit Free Press)

DETROIT — Rob Greenfield spent Sunday morning shopping for food.

By 11 a.m., he already had salmon, multigrain breads, Starbucks coffee, oranges, bananas, avocados, tomatoes and peppers. For dessert, he had cakes, cookies and spice drop candies. He even picked up some microbrew beer.

He's not planning a Labor Day cookout. Greenfield is an environmental activist who's traveling part of the country to shop in dumpsters behind grocery stores, drugs stores and other places to draw attention to the amount of food that is wasted every day in America.

Conducting what he calls food fiascos, Greenfield takes the edible food he finds in each city, then displays it in one spot to show how much of it there is. Metro Detroit is his latest stop on a two month campaign that began in Madison, Wis., and ends in New York City.

"We've collected a couple thousand dollars worth of food today," Greenfield said this morning as he took a quick inventory at a stop in Clawson. "All of this stuff is still good."

Greenfield peeled a slightly brown banana and took a bite.


An app that reduces food waste

Some of the items had expiration dates of Saturday, Sunday or Monday, but others are good until next month. Most of the items are still in sealed packages. The salmon was still cold when he found it.

His lessons are aimed at both consumers and the stores that supply their food. His goals are:

• Reduce the amount of food by better inventory control.

• Encourage stores to donate food to non-profits that get it to people in need.

• Promote composting of food that can't be eaten by humans.

Rob J. Greenfield, 28, of San Diego finds grapes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and more that he eats as he digs them out of a dumpster in Oak Park, Mich.(Photo: Regina H. Boone, Detroit Free Press)

Greenfield said some corporations are coming around to the idea of donating surplus food, but most are still behind the times. The number one reason corporations have given him for not donating their food is the fear of liability if someone gets sick from eating it.

But he said that fear was put to rest in 1996, when President Clinton signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which shields food donors from liability in most cases, though not for gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

Greenfield pointed to a 2013 study by the University of Arkansas School of Law that examined litigation related to food donation.


Your daily bread: Bag it, freeze it, to prevent waste

"A thorough search of filings and review of reported decisions did not turn up a single case that involved food donation-related liability or any attempts to get around the protections offered by the Bill Emerson Act," the study's authors, James Haley and Nicole Civita, wrote.

Through his website, Greenfield prompts sustainable living and he practices what he preaches.

A 28-year-old Ashland, Wis., native who makes his home in San Diego, he converted to vegetarian lifestyle and decided to focus on sustainable living. He carries no cash or credit cards, travels barefoot and mostly by bicycle.

He sleeps in a tent or taps the kindness of strangers for a bed for the night and a warm shower. A web-based network of touring cyclists includes people who open their homes to travelers like Greenfield free of charge.

Rob J. Greenfield, 28, of San Diego, is an environmental activist who is crossing the country on his bicycle dumpster diving to show how much food is wasted in the country annually.(Photo: Regina H. Boone, Detroit Free Press)

He eats food from dumpsters and gets his water from dripping taps.

He's never gone hungry, gotten ill, been arrested or failed to find plenty of food.

"He's an inspiration to me," said Julie Palmer, 43, of Ypsilanti. "He lives life with so much joy."

Palmer became a fan of Greenfield after a friend posted a link to Greenefield's website, When she and her husband, Seth, learned he was coming to Michigan, they volunteered to help.

To collect his food, they agreed to help shuttle him around in their Chevrolet Traverse, driving him to various grocery stores in the suburbs of Detroit and filling up the back with what they found.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Upgraded LL.M. Classroom

We have mentioned the upgrade of the LL.M. study in prior posts.  And, our announcements of the new distance program have consistently included reference to the use of state-of-the-art technology.  So -  many of you are probably anxious to see what the "new" LL.M. Study looks like.  Here are some photos, with more to come showing our video-conferencing in action.

Shown left is a view that shows the three screens mounted on the north wall of the classroom.  And, it shows the attractive, and media-friendly blue wall.  No more washed out professors (hey, no jokes)  when video-conferencing.  There are three screens on each side to allow multiple use and clear access from all angles.

We'll post a video that shows an example of our video conferencing soon.

Shown right is the south wall -  with its bank of screens, again on an attractive blue wall. 

Of course, we still have fantastic natural lighting from the floor to ceiling windows that form the entire south wall of the classroom.  These windows look out onto the campus, specifically the tree-lined Garland Avenue walkway.

While Professor Neil Hamilton was here, ‎Kris Katrosh, Media Production Manager from the University of Arkansas Global Campus came by to interview him for a video that Kris is producing for us this Fall. Stay tuned.

The photo to the left shows Kris and his colleagues testing out the lighting and sound for the interview. Neil commented on what professionals they were and enjoyed the interview. Thanks to our friends at Global Campus, who are helping us every step of the way to make our new distance education track successful.

Our classes each have their own web page in Blackboard, with readings and other resources available electronically. We offer video-conferencing with our distance students (allowing them to participate fully in the class),  recording of the classes for later viewing, and interactive online discussions. So - lots of new features and a full use of new technology -  while we continue to maintain the small class interaction that has always been the hallmark of our Program.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Welcome to the Fall 2014 Incoming LL.M. Class

We are delighted to welcome 9 face-to-face LL.M. candidates to Fayetteville.  Eight are out-of-state students; they have moved to Arkansas from Alaska, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, D.C. One student is from Arkansas.  Three are 2014 law school graduates, and the remaining 6 are experienced attorneys.

We are also very pleased to welcome our inaugural class in the distance track.  These students will be integrated into the face-to-face classroom through video conferencing, classroom capture, online communication, and blended classroom settings.  We are proud to have 8 distance LL.M. candidates with us.  All are out-of-state students, and they live and work in Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, Illinois, and Washington, D.C.  All are experienced attorneys. Three have significant military experience and have been recognized for their leadership and service.

Welcome to our incoming class.  It's is going to be another great year.  Here are introductory bios of most of the class.

Full Time Face to Face LL.M. Candidates

Tiffany Alvoid (Carrollton, Texas)
J.D., UCLA Law School
Concentration in Critical Race Studies
Participation in Environmental Law Clinic
Research Assistant to Professor Russell Robinson (racial and gender discrimination law)
B.J., News-Editorial w/concentrations in History and English, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Golden Key National Honor Society
University of Pittsburg Semester at Sea Study Abroad Program (Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, Tanzania, India, South Korea and Japan)
Professional experience includes: Of Counsel, Law Office of Edith K. Thomas; Attorney, Small Business Administration; Associate Attorney, Gllespie, Rozen & Watsky; Staff Attorney, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
Publication: Taking the Question Out of Deposition Preparation, ABA’s Young Lawyers Division (Dec. 2011)
Admitted to practice law in Texas

Justin Crawley (Bryson City, North Carolina)
J.D., Appalachian School of Law
Senior Editor, APPALACHIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LAW JOURNAL (recipient of “Exceptional Service Award” for outstanding performance)
President and Chief of Executive Board, Environmental Law Society
Treasurer and Community Liaison, Executive Board, Sport and Entertainment Law Society
B.S., Sports Management w/concentration in Professional Sport Management and Minor in Business Law, Western Carolina University
Professional experience includes: Legal Intern, Haywood County Clerk of Court Office in Waynesville, North Carolina, Director of Baseball Operations, Western Carolina University Athletic Dept.

Anna Dey (Austin, Texas)
J.D., Seattle University School of Law
Paralegal Certificate with Honors, University of San Diego Paralegal Program
B.A., English, Cornell University
Professional experience includes: Adjunct Professor of Legal Research & Writing, Des Moines Area Community College; Program Attorney, ABA Rule of Law Initiative, Legal Skills Program, Monrovia, Liberia; Staff Attorney, PP Heartland, Inc., Des Moines; Legislative Director and Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa; Associate Attorney/Financial & Office Manager, Dickey & Campbell, PLC
Admitted to practice law in Iowa

Trevor Findley (Aumsville, Oregon) 
J.D., Cum Laude, Willamette University College of Law
Certificates in Business Law, International and Comparative Law
Note and Comment Editor, WILLAMETTE LAW REVIEW
Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security/Defense, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
M. Ed., Curriculum & Instruction, University of Nevada Las Vegas
B.A., International Studies, Willamette University
Professional experience includes: Associate Attorney (Creditors’ Rights, Bankruptcy Group; Litigation Group), Saalfeld Griggs, PC; Certified Law Clerk (Juvenile Division), Marion County District Attorney; Teach for America, Las Vegas Valley, 5th Grade Classroom Teacher
Admitted to practice law in Oregon

Diane MacDonald (Chicago, Illinois)
LL.M., Taxation, with honors, Golden Gate University School of Law
J.D., with honors, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
M.Sc., Economics, London School of Economics & Political Science
B.A., Economics, Bucknell University
Professional experience includes: Associate Attorney, Baker & McKenzie (international trade, including antidumping and trade compliance assistance); Associate Attorney, Barnes, Richardson & Colburn (import/export compliance); Product Manager, Export, ClearCross, Inc.
Publications include:  
Personal Data Privacy and the WTO, with C. Streatfeild, 36 Hous. J. of Int’l L. (Summer, 2014); Who is a "Person" Under the U.S. Import Laws?, PRACTICAL TRADE AND CUSTOMS STRATEGIES (May, 2014); Food Safety Modernization Act Implications for U.S. Importers, PRACTICAL TRADE AND CUSTOMS STRATEGIES (Jan., 2014);  Contributor, ABA International Trade, Year in Review 2013; Corporate Form Principles Apply to Import Law Violations, LAW360, (August 29, 2013);  Antidumping Duties on Imported Goods: Resellers Beware, 12 THE CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL PRACTITIONER (No. 2, 2002-2003)
Admitted to practice in New York, California, Illinois
Diane has been a frequent legal webinar speaker. She is a Licensed Customs Broker. She developed the Trade Law and Trade Agreements online class for the World Trade Institute, Pace University.

Hillary Renick (Washington, D.C.)
J.D., University of the Oregon School of Law
NALSA Public Relations Officer
Native Environmental Sovereignty Fellow, ENR Center
Research Assistant, Professor Mary Christina Wood
M.S., Cultural Resource Management, Central Washington University
Thesis on Yakama Indian Treaty Fishing and Significance of Traditional Places
Advanced Public Health studies, George Washington University
Research Assistant, Dr. David Goldsmith (Research on Native American health problems associated with exposure to agricultural pesticides)
B.A., Anthropology, American University in Washington, DC.
Professional experience includes: Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Sherwood Valley Rancheria; Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, FOIA Specialist, Washington, D.C.; Yakama Nation Chief Judge; Yakama Nation Air Quality Specialist; Associate Attorney, LaPena Law Corporation; Board of Trustees, California Indian Legal Service; Udall Fellow in Office of Senator Cantwell (D-WA).
Hillary is a member of the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians and descendant of the Hopland Shanel, Noyo and Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone tribal communities.

Christina Rice (Charlotte, North Carolina)
J.D., with honors, Charlotte School of Law
CALI Award for Lawyering Process I
Order of the Crown Honor Society
Public Interest Law Society
Participation in The American Caribbean Law Institute Caribbean Law Clinic (Trinidad and Tobago).
Participation in the Estate Planning Law Clinic.
B.S., Business Administration & Finance/Accounting, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Professional experience includes: Legal Intern, Law Office of Marjorie J Brown, PC; Legal Intern, SERC Reliability Corporation; Teaching Assistant for Lawyering Process; Summer Intern, Oracle Law, LLC;  Post-closing Legal Intern, Costner Law; Summer Intern, Love Sloan Law; Recovery Specialist and Customer Accounts Representative, American Honda Finance

Elizabeth Ruiz  (Anchorage, Alaska)
J.D., University of North Carolina School of Law
Honors Writing Scholar and Teaching Assistant
Vice President, Carolina Public Interest Law Organization
Pro Bono, 85 hours
B.A., English, University of South Carolina, Magna cum laude
Professional experience includes: Staff Attorney, Chesapeake Circuit Court; Legal clerk, Chesapeake Circuit Court; Legal intern/fellow, National Hispanic Media Coalition; Google Policy Fellow, Media Access Project; Legal intern for the Office of FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn; Staff Writer and B2 Editor, The State Newspaper, Columbia, South Carolina
Admitted to practice in Virginia

Maranda White  (Springdale, Arkansas)
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
Co-chair, Equal Justice Works (2012-13)
M.S., Environmental, Soil, and Water Science, Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences, University of Arkansas
Graduate Assistant to Dr. Duane C. Wolf
Thesis: The Ecological Effect of Unpaved Roads
B.S., Environmental, Soil, and Water Science, Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences University of Arkansas
Professional experience includes: Research Assistant, Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative; Research Assistant, Professor Robert B. Leflar; Law Clerk, McMath Woods, P.A.; Public Interest Extern, Attorney General for the Cherokee Nation; Corporate Extern, Walmart Stores, Inc.; Law Clerk, Mostyn Prettyman; Pro Bono Law Clerk, Legal Aid of Arkansas; Research Intern, Nature Conservancy; Consultant, Arkansas Wildlife Federation

Distance LL.M. Candidates
(Note that this is an incomplete listing to respect the privacy of candidates that do not yet want their participation publicized for professional reasons)

Michael Hoffman (Aspen, Colorado)
J.D., University of Denver
M.B.A., Finance, University of Colorado Boulder
B.S., Zoology/Animal Biology, Colorado State University
Professional experience includes his current position as Of Counsel Attorney (real estate and land use), Garfield & Hecht, P.C.; Attorney and President, E. Michael Hoffman, P.C.; Partner, Freilich, Myler, Leitner & Carlisle, P.C.; Lender and Trust Officer, U.S. Bank
Admitted to practice in Colorado

Brian Mathison (West Point, New York)
J.D., Maurer School of Law, Indiana University - Bloomington
M.S., Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry, University of California, Davis
M.S., Finance, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
B.A., Indiana University, English Literature
B.S., Indiana University, Biochemistry
Professional experience includes his current position as Instructor (Chemistry), in the Department of Chemistry and Life Science, United States Military Academy, West Point; Administrative and Operational Law Attorney, Joint Special Operations Task Force, Afghanistan; Trial Counsel, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Fort Bliss, Texas; Trial Counsel, 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Daegu, Korea; Deputy Legal Advisor, Joint Task Force-North, Fort Bliss, Texas; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Fort Bliss, Texas; Legal Assistance Attorney, Tax Center Officer-in-Charge; Transportation Officer, U.S. Army Europe Headquarters, Heidelberg, Germany
Publication: A Rapid Method to Determine the Sterol, Erythrodiol, and Uvaol Concentration in Olive Oil, J. Agric. & Food Chemistry, (co-authored with Dirk Holstege), available at

S. Patrick Morin, Jr. (Birmingham, Michigan)
J.D., cum laude, University of New Hampshire School of Law
Senior Research Editor, PIERCE LAW REVIEW
B.S., English Literature, Northeastern University
Professional experience includes his current position as Of Counsel with Dickinson Wright PLLC in Michigan; Associate positions with Bass, Berry & Simms PLC (Nashville and Knoxsville, TN) and Sullivan & Worcester LLP (Boston, MA); Judicial Clerk for the Honorable Jeffrey R. Howard, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit; Legal Clerk for U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Hampshire
His publications include:
P.T.S.D.: A NOVEL (CreateSpace Press 2011);  THE AUDITOR: A NOVEL (publication pending); Wherefore Art Thou Guidelines: An Empirical Study of White-Collar Criminal Sentencing and How the Gall Decision Effectively Eliminated Sentencing Guidelines, 7 PIERCE L. REV. 151(2008).
Admitted to practice in Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
Pat is a Board Member of the Veterans Bar Association and served as Captain in the United States Marine Corps. His awards include the Navy Commendation Medal, Iraqi Liberation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal, Sea Service Deployment Medal.

Edward Peterson (Warner Robins, Georgia)
J.D., Capitol University Law School
LL.M., Employment Law, John Marshall Law School
Masters of Plant Protection and Pest Management, University of Georgia
B.S., Biology, Georgia College
Professional experience includes his current position as solo practitioner in Warner Robins, Georgia; Assistant Public Defender II, Swainsboro, Georgia; Associate Attorney, Matthew Waters Law; Assistant Public Defender I, Dublin, Georgia; Associate Attorney, Walter E. Baker Law; Assistant Solicitor, Warner Robbins, Georgia; Assistant District Attorney, Warner Robbins, Georgia
Professional experience with USDA includes: County Agricultural and Natural Resource Extension Agent; Plant Protection & Quarantine Officer, USDA APHIS; Computer Services Coordinator, USDA, APHIS; Technical Information Specialist, USDA, APHIS
Admitted to practice in Georgia

Kelvin Stroud (Washington, D.C.)
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
President, Student Bar Association
President, Student Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association
B.S.B.A., Dual Degrees in Finance and Accounting, University of Arkansas
Honor’s Thesis: Diversifying Financially with International Investments
Post-J.D. educational advancement: Global Policy Fellowship, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Scholar, Truman National Security Project Educational Institute; Congressional Fellowship, Partnership for Secure America; Scholar, Congressional Research Service Legislative Process Institute.
Professional experience includes his current position as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Mark Pryor; Legislative Analyst, Tyson Foods; Legislative Counsel, U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; Proprietor and Of Counsel,, Inc.; Solo Practitioner

Kurtis Ward (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
J.D., Oklahoma City University
CALI award for Securities Regulation
B.S., Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University
Professional experience includes his current position as General Counsel for the National Livestock Credit Corp.; Attorney, Law Offices of Kurtis J. Ward; Securities Arbitrator, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; Futures Arbitrator, National Futures Association; Managing Member/ CEO, OKC Trading, LLC / KIS Futures, Inc.; Stock Broker/ Financial Advisor / Branch Manager, International Securities Corp.; Loan Officer, Farm Credit Services; Loan Assistant, USDA Farm Services Agency; Adjunct Professor, Political Science / American Gov’t, Oklahoma State University
Publications include: Preventing Investment Fraud: The Swindle, the Swindler, and the Swindlee, Provision Network (2007); The Futures Industry: From Commodities to the OTC Derivatives Markets, 12 PUBLIC INVESTORS ARBITRATION BAR JOURNAL 3 (2005); YOU SHALL HAVE GOOD SUCCESS (Harrison House Publishers 1995).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Journal of Food Law & Policy: Call for Articles and New Connection with LL.M. Program

The Journal of Food Law & Policy is seeking article submissions.  For ten years, the Journal has been a leading voice in the food law and policy movement, publishing legal scholarship on a wide variety of food law issues. While some articles have reflected the traditional food and drug law approach and presented excellent regulatory analysis, more typically, the articles have presented a look beyond this. They have discussed the most relevant current food policy issues, often with a systemic perspective that transcends the legal academy's traditional approach. The Journal strives for excellent scholarship with "real world" significance -  a mission appropriate for the one area of law that touches everyone in the world -  food.

The Journal's leadership role and its tenth anniversary were noted by authors Baylen Linnekin (Keep Food Legal) and Emily Broad Lieb (Harvard's Food Law and Policy Clinic) in their recent article, Food Law & Policy: The Fertile Field's Origins & First Decade. It was published at 2014 Wisc. L. Rev. 557 last Spring.  A companion video, Food Law & Policy describes the emerging discipline, interviews leaders in the field, and credits the Journal for its innovation. My appreciation is extended to Baylen and Emily for this recognition and for the opportunity to participate in the video.

The Journal of Food Law & Policy continues to be the only student-edited U.S. law journal focused exclusively on food law and policy issues. Journal articles are available on both Westlaw and Hein On Line, and a new web site will soon post past issues for download.  Regular features include food law updates from the United States, the European Union, and Canada. The Journal is published twice a year and is edited by some of the top law students at the University of Arkansas School of Law. I am privileged to serve as the faculty advisor.

This year's Editor in Chief is A. Jordan Broyles. I worked closely with Jordan last year as a Journal candidate when she undertook the challenging task of writing about the historical struggle in regulating raw milk sales. I am confident that Jordan will be an excellent leader for the Journal this year, and I look forward to working with her, the board, and the new candidates.

In a new development, I am pleased to announce that this year at the request of the Journal, we are connecting the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law with the Journal by adding an LL.M. Advisor from this year's class. LL.M. candidate Justin Crawley has agreed to serve in this capacity and has already begun work with the Journal staff.  Justin received his from J.D. from Appalachian School of Law where he served as Senior Editor of the Appalachian Natural Resources Law Journal and was the recipient of “Exceptional Service Award” for outstanding performance on a student publication.  Justin also served as the President and Chief of the Executive Board of the Environmental Law Society. His leadership and support will be very helpful to Jordan and her staff.

Please consider submitting your publication to the Journal. We may be able to include additional articles in our Fall publication, offering a very prompt production schedule.  Submission can be made through ExPresso or by direct delivery via e-mail to  Written submissions can be sent to the address below.  Please include a brief abstract and CV or resume with each submission.

Journal of Food Law and Policy
University of Arkansas School of Law
1045 West Maple Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Professor Neil Hamilton: Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture

LOTS GOING ON in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Monday, August 18 was the first day of classes for the 2014-15 LL.M. Program academic year. We were proud to welcome 9 face-to-face candidates and 3 of our distance candidates to Fayetteville for an orientation session and our first condensed course. Several other distance candidates are taking the course via distance education.

I'll do another post that reports on and shows photos of he renovated LL.M. classroom -  it looks fantastic!

And, bios for this year's class will be posted later this week.  They are a great group, of experienced attorneys and recent law graduates from Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Also in keeping with our tradition, we were honored to welcome Professor Neil Hamilton as our first Visiting Professor of the year.  Professor Hamilton is the Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law at Drake University Law School and Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center. He teaches our orientation course, An Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture, as our first condensed course.  This course covers a wide range of issues, setting the stage for our further discussions of the important areas of agricultural and food law.  It is a great way to begin another year.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bill Clinton Recognizes the Food City Scenario

Several prior posts have discussed the Food City Scenario, an award winning University of Arkansas collaboration led by the Fay Jones School of Architecture's Community Design Center.  The latest award was a Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism.  As noted below, former President Bill Clinton recently wrote to the CDC Director, Professor Steve Luoni to congratulate him and to commend the CDC for its work. Such nice (and well deserved) recognition.

The LL.M. Program was proud to provide assistance to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture's Community Design Center in developing this innovative model for incorporating local food systems into urban growth. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

University of Arkansas School of Law Ranked as Best Value

The University of Arkansas School of Law ranks first in the nation in preLaw magazine’s annual “Best Value Law Schools” issue. This is the fourth year in a row that the School of Law has been honored as a top 20 “Best Value.” It ranked second in the nation last year.

“The University of Arkansas School of Law delivers an extraordinary education for its students and at a value that leaves them with significantly less debt than students at most law schools,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “The return on investment for a student who graduates from our law school is good not only for our students but for Arkansas as well.”

School of Law Dean Stacy Leeds is quoted throughout the preLaw story, and credits support from the Arkansas Bar Association and investments in bar exam preparation and career services as factors in the law school’s continued success.

The rankings, which highlight the law schools that produce “lawyer-ready grads without saddling them with debt,” are determined by a formula that uses “the percent of graduates who pass the bar exam, employment rate, tuition, cost of living, and average indebtedness upon graduation.” For the employment category, more weight is given to jobs that require bar exam passage and to jobs that prefer the candidate hold a Juris Doctor degree.

For a detailed report of the law school’s bar passage, placement rates, and tuition and fees, please visit

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law has been the law school's signature specialty program since the 1980's.  This year, the law school was recognized for its leadership role in food law & policy.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A-dae Romero Receives Champion of Change Award

Vena A-dae Romero, a 2013-14 candidate in the LL.M. Program was honored as a “Champion of Change” on Tuesday, July 29 by the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The “Champions of Change” are 15 leaders from across the country who are doing extraordinary things to build the bench for the next generation of farming and ranching. A-dae completed her final LL.M. requirements this summer and graduates with a Master of Laws degree in August. She is Cochiti Puebloan and Kiowa Indian. She was born in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, as a granddaughter of a Pueblo farmer.

While in the LL.M. Program, A-dae served as a Graduate Assistant with the Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative. She now consults for First Nations Development Institute, a leading Native American nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen American Indian economies.

As we recently announced, A-dae was awarded a J. William Fulbright Scholarship for the coming year to complete a research study on indigenous food sovereignty in New Zealand. Her study will compare similar colonial experiences between the Maori people of New Zealand and the American Indians in the United States and explore the influence of traditional food systems.

The Champions of Change program featured USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, who discussed efforts to ensure that beginning farmers and the growing ranks of agriculture — women, young people, immigrants, socially disadvantaged producers, returning veterans and retirees — have access to the programs and support they need. The event included a discussion about how to continue growing and supporting the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers.

Add caption
University of Arkansas Law School Dean Stacy Leeds traveled to D.C. to attend the ceremony with A-dae.  LL.M. colleagues in Washington gathered to congratulate A-dae.

Pictured, left to right:

  • Amy Lowenthal, LL.M. alumna and Assistant Counsel to the Inspector General, USDA; 
  • Richard Flournoy, LL.M. alumnus and Assistant to the Administrator, Risk Management Agency, USDA; 
  • Kelvin Stroud, current part-time LL.M. candidate and Legislative Assistant for Senator Mark Pryor; 
  • Jennifer Fiser, LL.M. alumna and Agricultural Program Specialist, Disaster Assistance Branch, Farm Service Agency, USDA; 
  • A'dae Romero; 
  • School of Law Dean Stacy Leeds; 
  • Steven "Brett" Offutt, LL.M. alumnus and Director of Policy and Litigation Division, GIPSA,USDA; and,
  • Visiting LL.M. Condensed Course Professor David Grahn, Associate General Counsel for International Affairs, Food Assistance, and Farm and Rural Programs in the Office of General Counsel, USDA.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses, and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. We are delighted to have one of our LL.M.s in the ranks of this honored group. Congratulations, A-dae!  We are proud of your work -

Friday, July 25, 2014

Celebrating our LL.M. Faculty: Visiting Professor Nicole Civita

When Global Campus agreed to support our development of a distance track for the LL.M. Program, the first position that they funded was for course development.  This position was designed to develop distance courses for the LL.M. Program -  some based on our current classes and some new ones.  We were fortunate to have Nicole Civita available, as her skills were perfectly matched to the job. She had just graduated from the LL.M. Program, with stellar performance. She has excellent practice experience with large firms in New York and California, and an impressive academic background (Columbia University, Georgetown Law, Order of the Coif).

Over the last year, she has worked closely with Global Campus, developing a keen sense for the pedagogy of distance learning and applying it to the unique challenges of legal education. She has worked with us to help us begin converting our classes to a style and format that retains its face-to-face component but also will work well for our distance students. It's safe to say that there is a lot more to this than I realized, and the help from Nicole and Global Campus has been greatly appreciated.

In addition, Nicole designed from the ground up two of our most exciting new offerings: Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Law & Policy.

Before she began her distance education duties, Nicole jumped in to take the lead on the Food Recovery Project, funded by the Women's Giving Circle.  She authored Food Recovery:  A Legal Guide, which is now circulating, literally around the country, as businesses try to develop food waste reduction plans that recover food while protecting themselves from legal liability.  She has continued to take the lead on this project, serving as an advisor to the UA student group, Razorback Food Recovery. She was a plenary speaker at the national Food Recovery Network conference in Chicago, and now serves on the advisory board of that association. The Food Recovery Project and Nicole's work on it have extended and enhanced our national reputation, promoting both our face-to-face program and our new distance program.

On urban agriculture, Nicole worked closely with local leaders in evaluating the regulatory framework here in Fayetteville, helping to craft sensible urban agriculture ordinances. She co-authored a chapter on urban agricultural issues for an upcoming ABA book and spoke at an ABA sponsored urban agriculture conference in North Carolina. She will be teaching our first Urban Agriculture class this fall as part of the LL.M. curriculum open to JD enrollment. It was designed with the help of our Global Campus partners and will be presented with a flipped model of instruction.

Nicole’s article for her LL.M. writing requirement, Agrarians Feeding Communities: Reconnecting Federal Farm Policy and Nutrition Assistance For a More Just Agri-food System is about to be published in the Summer 2014 issue of the Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review.

All of this while balancing the birth of her second child last October.  .  .

I am pleased to report that Global Campus funded an additional year for Nicole's position, helping us to continue to build our curriculum and enhance the reputation of our Program.  She will be working with us and with each of our adjunct/visiting professors on course design and implementation while also helping us to promote the Program.

We appreciate Nicole's hard work and all that she has brought to the LL.M. Program and the law school.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Leadership Summit for Native Youth in Agriculture

Forty-four high school and college students arrived at the University of Arkansas School of Law this week for the inaugural Summer Leadership Summit: Native Youth in Agriculture. The students, who represent the next generation of Indian Country’s food and agriculture leaders, hail from 13 states from as far away as Oregon and Hawaii, and represent 21 tribes.

The week-long program includes classes, lectures, field trips and hands-on training in risk management, finance and business, legal issues and marketing. University of Arkansas professors, professionals in the food and agriculture sector and tribal leaders will teach the courses. Highlights include presentations by Mike Vayda, dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, and Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law, and visits to the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market, the Discovery Center Food Processing and Food Development Center at Tyson Foods world headquarters and the Regional Distribution Center of Walmart and Sam’s Club world headquarters.

The summit is sponsored by the School of Law and the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative in partnership with the Intertribal Agriculture Council, FFA (formerly the Future Farmers of America) and the Farm Credit Council. The program is supported by grants from the Farm Credit Council and the Risk Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kathryn Smith Accepts Position at Walmart

We are pleased to announce that Kathryn Smith, a member of the 2013-14 LL.M. class has accepted the position of Manager of Programs in the Responsible Sourcing Department at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Kathryn was a 2011 graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law. While in law school, Kathryn served as the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Food Law & Policy and received the law school's  Outstanding Contribution to Law School Publications Award for that service.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude (Criminal Justice) and a Bachelor of Arts degree with University Honors (Spanish) from the University of Alabama. She is just finishing up her final requirements for the LL.M. degree.

The Responsible Sourcing Department at Walmart serves as the bridge between Walmart’s internal compliance efforts and its global supply chain. Responsible Sourcing sets policy and monitors compliance and remediation activities of suppliers and factories in the global supply chain for areas such as

  • The Environment 
  • Health & Safety 
  • Labor & Employment 

Kathryn's particular job within this department falls under the Supplier Development area. She works with a team to review and evaluate existing programs implemented by the department. These kinds of programs range from training programs for factories to facilitate compliance to social betterment programs, such was the Women in Factories program.  Walmart's Global Responsibility Report for 2014 provides additional information.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Announcing Fall Food & Ag Law Class Line up

In the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law, we are proud to offer a full curriculum of 12 credits of specialized LL.M. courses each semester.  Beginning this Fall, we will offer a part-time program and a distance degree option to complement our traditional two-semester face-to-face program.

We use technology to bring the classroom experience to our distance students. Synchronous classes are live-streamed, with students participating from their computer or tablet from anywhere with a good internet connection. All of the technology in our classroom is being upgraded this summer  -  watch for future posts.

Condensed courses provide an opportunity for distance students to visit campus to attend several days of intense study of a specific agricultural or food law topic.

Traditional online courses will also be available for remote study beginning Spring 2015.

Our courses are all taught by nationally recognized agricultural and food law professors, and our professors work with the distance education professionals at the University of Arkansas Global Campus on distance course design and implementation.

We have a great incoming class, but are still accepting applications.  Here are the courses we will be offering Fall semester:

Agriculture & the Environment 
2 credit full-semester course
Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00 – 10:50 a.m. 
Agriculture is increasingly criticized for its impact on the environment. This course examines the tensions between the desire to produce food and fiber efficiently and concern for sustainability and the protection of natural resources.  It’s focus is on broad policy themes and current environmental readings.

Food Law & Policy 
2 credit full-semester course
Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
The laws that frame our food system have a significant impact on us all. This course provides an overview of regulation by the Food & Drug Administration and the USDA focusing on policy considerations and current issues in the news. 

Food, Farming & Sustainability 
2 credit full-semester course 
Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00 – 11:50 a.m.
This course provides a survey of the complex legal topics that make up the body of agricultural and food law focusing on current issues of significance. Readings are supplemented by presentations from attorneys working in the field. The text for the course will be an updated version of Food, Farming & Sustainability: Readings in Agricultural Law, by the course professor, Susan Schneider.

Specialized Legal Research and Writing 
1 credit full-semester, pass/fail course
Thursday, 1:00 – 1:50 p.m.
This is a course for legal writing skill development, including training in plain-English legal writing, electronic research training, and publication strategies. This course will assist students in planning to meet the LL.M. writing requirement.

Administrative Law & Practice: USDA and FDA 
1 credit flipped model; first half of the semester only
Tuesdays, 1:00 – 1:50
Study of administrative law & practice as applied to the specialized areas of agricultural and food law.  The relevant regulatory agencies are introduced, and the basics of federal rulemaking, adjudication, and judicial review are covered. The course will meet once/week August 26 – October 7, 2014.

Urban Agriculture Law & Policy 
1 credit flipped model; second half of the semester
Tuesdays, 1:00 – 1:50
This course provides a study of the legal issues raised by the rising interest in urban agricultural activities. Topics of study include land use and zoning issues, farmers market issues, and legal issues associated with community-sponsored agriculture. The course will meet once/week October 14, and October 28 – December 2, 2014.

Condensed Courses are one-credit face-to-face classes offered in 2-4 days of intensive instruction. Distance students are encouraged to come to campus, although special arrangements may be available for video-conferencing on a case by case basis.

An Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture 
1 credit condensed course
August 18-20, 2014  
This course provides an overview of the legal and policy issues presented by the production of food and fiber, including a discussion of structural changes in agriculture, sustainability issues, and trends in consumer interest.

Federal Farm Programs & Crop Insurance 
1 credit condensed course
October 13-16, 2014
This course provides a survey of the complex network of federal farm programs and federal crop insurance programs that are available to U.S. producers, focusing on the 2014 Farm Bill provisions.

Agricultural Policy & the Federal Budget 
1 credit condensed course; on location only; this course will not be recorded
November 10 – 12, 2014
This course examines the impact of the budget, cost-scoring, and OMB on federal agricultural policy making in Washington, D.C. Current farm policy issues are discussed within the context of budgetary constraints and pressures.